Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden dies after accident

The American entered MotoGP in 2003 and won the world championship in 2006

Former world motorcycling champion Nicky Hayden has died, the Bufalini di Cesena hospital announced on Monday. Photograph: Getty Images

Former world motorcycling champion Nicky Hayden has died, the Bufalini di Cesena hospital announced on Monday. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Nicky Hayden, the former MotoGP world champion, has died five days after he was involved in a cycling accident.

The 35-year-old American was hit by a car during a training exercise in Italy last week and suffered severe head and chest injuries. On Monday, the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital, where he had been placed into a medically induced coma, confirmed that he had died.

“The medical team has verified the death of the patient Nicholas Patrick Hayden, who has been undergoing care since last Wednesday May 17th in the intensive care unit of the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena following a very serious polytrauma which occurred the same day,” the statement said.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Hayden was given a breathalyser test and was not found to have been over the limit at the time of the accident. Italian police have opened an inquiry into the accident, and the conclusions are expected in July.

Hayden entered MotoGP, motorcycling’s elite competition, in 2003 and won the world championship in 2006, narrowly beating his friend and rival Valentino Rossi, who had won the title five times in a row.

Hayden, who was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, transferred to World Superbikes in 2016. He was competing for the Red Bull Honda team this season and was 13th in the riders’ standings.

On Monday, members of the motor racing community paid tribute to Hayden, who was an immensely popular figure. The former Formula One driver Mark Webber described Hayden, the last American to win a MotoGP world championship, as a “beautiful person, genuine and real”.

Members of Hayden’s family, including his mother and fiancee, flew to Italy last week to be by his bedside.

“On behalf of the whole Hayden family and Nicky’s fiancée Jackie, I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support – it has been a great comfort to us all knowing that Nicky has touched so many people’s lives in such a positive way,” said his brother, Tommy, in a statement.

“Although this is obviously a sad time, we would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest – riding a motorcycle. He dreamed as a kid of being a pro rider and not only achieved that but also managed to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport in becoming world champion. We are all so proud of that.”

Guardian services

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